During Comic-Con International in San Diego last month, I covered TheOneRing.net’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” panel for Spinoff Online!

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“TheOneRing.net Brings “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” to Comic-Con” — Click to read full article

“With Peter Jackson absent from Comic-Con International in San Diego to finish production on The Hobbit trilogy, the duty of bringing Middle-Earth to Comic-Con fell to the staff of the TheOneRing.net. Consisting of TheOneRing personalities Alex and Kellie Rice, Josh Rubinstein and Rebecca Perry, with Cliff Broadway and Cathy Udovch driving most of the dialog, the panelists dug deep into the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second film of The Hobbit trilogy.

Releasing December 13 with limited information currently available from which to draw theories and deduce conclusions, the panelists energetically showed off their expertise of Tolkien lore, analyzing known sequences adapted from the novel. The most fun came when the panelists cut loose theorizing on new scenes and relationships from Smaug, including a larger role for the wizard Radagast, the inclusion of new elf character Tauriel, talking giant spiders, a Jackson-created side story for Gandalf, elven goddess Galadriel seeing combat action and Bilbo’s impending encounter with Smaug the dragon, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Breaking down the structure of Smaug and its parallel with the chronology of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, the panel took the crowd through the film’s outline, beginning with Bilbo Baggins and his dwarven allies meeting the giant bear-man Beorn. This encounter precedes The Company venturing into the dangers of Mirkwood, wherein lie the deadly spiders teased in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

“I want to see the ponies and sheep come out and do that catering gig at Beorn’s place,” Broadway commented with enthusiasm, referencing the anthropomorphic servants of the giant bear-man. A still shot of Beorn’s house was shown, as the giant animal played by Mikael Persbrandt towered over the small companions.”

At Comic-Con International in San Diego, I covered IDW Publishing’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” panel for CBR!

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SDCC: Turtle Power Energizes TMNT” — Click to read entire article

“At Comic-Con International in San Diego, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman took the spotlight during IDW Publishing’s Turtles panel, alongside ongoing series writer Tom Waltz, “Secret History of the Foot Clan” co-writer Erik Burnham and editor Bobby Curnow.

The big announcement was the latest installment of the “TMNT Villains Micro-Series” line featuring the Turtles’ arch-nemesis, The Shredder, written by Paul Allor and featuring art from the artist who launched IDW’s TMNT revival, Dan Duncan. Then, following the fan-favorite “City Fall” storyline in the ongoing TMNT title, “Northampton” will launch, with art by “Glory” artist Ross Campbell.

Tom Waltz opened the day’s Turtles discussion, touching on how the events of the ongoing series have led to the surprising and dramatic transpirings of “City Fall,” where Leonardo has been seduced by Shredder and the Foot Clan. “We spent a lot of time bulking the backstory of the characters, which is a distant separation from past backstories of different Turtles iterations — we fit certain parts in,” Waltz said. “The family dynamic in our series is different, especially regarding conflicts between the brothers. We had Leo and Donnie bumping heads, where in the past it was Leo and Raph. It had us thinking about Leo more and his place in the pantheon. He’s the Cyclops of the team — the straight and narrow, by the rules kind of guy, so we thought, lets shake that up a bit and manipulate his psyche and — forgive me for saying this — bring him over to the dark side.

“Leo and his demeanor is something Shredder in the modern world is attuned with and it appeals to him,” Waltz continued. “In being resurrected from Feudal Japan, Shredder has an old school attitude and he isn’t too keen on Karai. She’s female and he does not believe she’s able to lead, even though she’s capable of doing so — and Karai knows that. So bringing Leo into the fold changes things in not only what he’s doing in the mythos, but in adding conflict — family conflict. We have two families at war with one piece, Leonardo, being tugged back and forth.””

Covered the “Mega Man” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” Archie Comics panel at San Diego Comic-Con International last weekend, where the creative teams for both universes talked details on what’s coming next following the “Worlds Collide” crossover!

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“SDCC: Flynn, Kaminski Power Up ‘Sonic’ & ‘Mega Man’ After ‘Worlds Collide'” — Click to read entire article

“Archie Comics’ Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man panel kicked off in style at Comic-Con International in San DIegowith an 8-bit beat soundtrack playing under a trailer of things to come in the wake of the current “Worlds Collide” crossover event.

“I’ve been working on this story for over a year now, and I still get excited watching that trailer,” said Paul Kaminski panel host and Editor of both “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Mega Man.” Other panelists included “Sonic,” “Sonic Universe” and “Mega Man” writer Ian Flynn, Archie Comics President Mike Pellerito and artists Ryan Jampole, Jon Gray and Evan Stanley. The main topic of discussion was, of course, the conclusion of “Worlds Collide” and what happens to all three titles in the event’s fallout.

“About three months before Archie got the Mega Man license, I thought a Sonic/Mega Man crossover would never happen,” Flynn said. “But I plotted one out anyway because I thought it’d be fun. Then, Capcom said they wanted to do a crossover with Sonic.”

“So the crossover’s great, but lets talk about the aftermath beginning this fall,” Kaminski said, passing the buck to new “Sonic the Hedgehog” artist beginning with issue #252, Evan Stanley.”

At San Diego Comic-Con International, I covered Nickelodeon’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” panel, complete with character design reveals for Season 2 and included every major voice actor from the show — it was awesome!

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“SDCC: Nickelodeon’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Team Parties with Fans” — Click to read full article

“If there’s one thing fans can accuse Nickelodeon’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cast and crew of, it’s having a party even when there’s no pizza. The energetic and lively panel hosted by Executive Producer Peter Hastings played to a packed house at Comic-Con International in San Diego and included EP Ciro Nieli, Story Editor Brandon Auman and the voices of Raphael (Sean Astin), Donatello (Rob Paulsen, who voiced Raphael in the 1980s “Turtles” cartoon), Michelangelo (Greg Cipes), April O’Neil (Mae Whitman) and The Shredder (Kevin Michael Richardson).

“‘Ninja Turtles’ has only been on the air for ten months now, and it’s already become a global phenomenon — so thank you!” Hastings declared. With Season One wrapping in August, the “Ninja Turtles” team has big plans for Season Two, and the panel had fans mesmerized with teaser footage and character reveals throughout.

“We’re launching into Season Two with new characters and places to go,” Hastings continued. “Everybody was like, ‘This show’s gonna suck! I hate it! They’re messing with my childhood!’ But the response has been so great.”

Commenting on Roseanne Barr voicing Prime Kraang, Hastings said, “We just thought who’s the scariest person we can get?”

“People often ask what drew me to the part of Raphael. Nothing did. It’s Raph!” Astin said. “When Cipes is voicing Michelangelo, we’re laughing so hard it costs the studio money.”

“I’m just so excited voicing Mikey,” Cipes said in his normal speaking voice — which sounds exactly like his Turtle character. “Growing up as a kid watching the 80s cartoon, he’s made me who I am today. He got me into martial arts, skateboarding, meditating, eating pizza.””

In her first official interview ever, Siya Oum spoke with me about her creator-owned series with Aspen Comics, “Lola XOXO.”

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“SDCC: Siay Oum Wanders the Wasteland in Aspen’s ‘Lola XOXO'” — Click to read entire article

“Siya Oum has been working in comics for the past decade coloring covers and interiors for Aspen Comics. Now she makes her creator-owned debut with Aspen’s “Lola XOXO” as both writer and artist, announced at Comic-Con International: San Diego and slated for release in 2014.

“Lola” stars a merchant woman surviving in the ruins of a great war, as she travels from location to location, bartering goods and supplies essential for survival. With a small hand-held arsenal at her disposal, Lola tries to break free from her past and look towards a brighter future.

Oum spoke with CBR News about “Lola XOXO,” revealing more details on the newly announced series and tells her story of how “Lola” came to become a reality at Aspen.

CBR News: Siya, before jumping into “Lola XOXO,” can you tell us a little about yourself, how you broke into the comics scene and ended up doing steady work with Aspen?

Siya Oum: It started about thirteen years ago when Top Cow Productions was exhibiting in Seattle, WA for a convention. I brought my sample pages with me and David Wohl was kind enough to look at my work, giving me great constructive criticism. I started to keep in touch with David years later, and he showed my work to Vince Hernandez at Aspen. My skills did not quite develop enough yet for pencils, but I was coloring my work digitally since college, so they started me off on color assists, then covers. Of course, I had to keep working at my art on the side, doing other projects for whatever I could get my hands on.

Not much is out there on “Lola” aside from the image released in a brief press release — what can you tell us about the story and who she is as a person?

“Lola XOXO” takes place thirteen years after a huge war. The majority of the United States has become a large wasteland of mercenaries, raiders, merchants and people barely getting by with their day to day lives. Lola was seven years old when she was separated from her parents right before the conflict began.The story is really about her struggle to adapt in this new world and separate herself from her past.”

“Aspen Comics exclusively revealed to CBR News covers for four new titles releasing in 2014, including Frank Mastromauro, Vince Hernandez & Mike DeBalfo’s “#Cosplay,” Mastromauro & Marco Lorenzana’s “Awaken Skies,” Hernandez & Giuseppe Cafaro’s “Fathom: Kiani” and “Legend of the Shadow Clan” vol. 2 by David Wohl, Brad Foxhoven & Cory Smith.”

“SDCC EXCLUSIVE: Aspen Announces “Awaken Skies,” “#Cosplay” & More” — Click to read entire article

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